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My Valentine’s Day Wish for You

Happy Chinese Girl! by Beardman

Valentine’s Day reminds me of the four years I spent working at a flower shop while I was in high school. It reminds me of working late on school nights and peeling guard petals off of roses in a cold, damp, but enormously lively warehouse. It reminds me of a city cop doing parking lot control to keep the frantic lovers under control when they stopped to buy mementos of their love on the way home from work. It reminds me of endless buckets of endless buckets full of flowers that dwindled, slowly, to nothing as 9 o’clock rolled around and the shop and registers were finally quiet.

But most importantly, it reminds me of the first time that I tried a new job at work and kicked ass doing it.

Valentine’s Day reminds me of hard work and what it really mean’s to prove yourself to yourself.

So this Valentine’s Day, I wish you love and the ability to kick ass – for you. Because if there’s one thing that is for certain, it’s that you gotta love you.

Photo Credit: Beardnan

Do you have a theme song?

When I was in middle school, I had a friendship journal that I’d pass around to my friends and they’d write a message in it to me. They could write about anything that they wanted to, but mostly it was about school, friends, and various crushes on boys. At the end of each message, I asked each of my friends to write their “Happy Song.”

happy song | ˈhapē sô ng | noun

A song that whenever you hear it, your not-so-good mood gets lifted. You start feeling all happy and hyper, and just for that moment when the song is played, you feel as if nothing can arm you in any way.

— as defined by thirteen-year-old Laura

Ever since then, I’ve been mildly obsessed with having a “happy song” or a personal theme song. Usually it’s in the form of whatever song I’m currently obsessed with that’s on constant rotation inside my head. That one that I can queue at any given moment and all the sudden I’m ready to rock, roll, and conquer the world.

Happy songs can also be theme songs to help you start your day. It’s also been said that if you’re a freelancer, self-employed, or work from home, it’s a good idea to have a theme song that you listen to help cue the beginning to your day. Pick a song, blast the music, and rock out for three-and-a-half to five minutes solid, then start your day.

Poll: What’s your theme song?

Which brings me to the point of this curiosity and a quick poll:


And if you do, what is your theme song? Leave the name of it and/or a link in the comments below.

What’s mine? Currently it’s Flo Rida’s Good Feeling.

Photo credit: sicoactiva

How to Set Goals and Keep New Years Resolutions

I am quickly becoming obsessed with making goals and am flirting with the danger-zone of over-planning and not getting anything done. But it is the second day of the New Year, so I’m still in the safe zone, right?

Today was New Year’s Day observed, which meant I had the day off work and since Johnny was working from home, that meant the day was all for me.

I slept in (yay!), had a home cooked breakfast with the man, ran off to meet another friend for coffee and to talk about our year ahead, had lunch with one of my truest, most amazing friends, made it to CrossFit (deadlifts, hang snatches, and overhead squats, oh my!), and am now enjoying some writing time. This year rocks already.

Put Your Goals Somewhere That You Can See Them

visualize goals

In following my track record of making goals and achieving them, the sure-fire way for me to fall flat on my face and not get something done is to write out a set of goals and then hide them. Sure, this works really well when cleaning my desk and I find my goals stacked between that book I didn’t finish and that notebook that has pages left unfilled (surprise!). And even though when it happens, I’m usually surprised by how many of those goals I actually accomplished. And while it’s been proven that the very act of writing down goals increases your likelihood of achieving them, it’s hard to be unintentionally intentional.

So this afternoon I went through my goals for the year and picked three things that I want to make sure I carry with me through the year. They are my goals, mantras, and things that could be roadblocks between achieving my goals this year.

From there, I wrote down five or six things for each category on index cards and literally pasted them to the wall of my office.

I used the red light/green light approach to organizing these three categories:

  • Goals on green cards, as that’s where I want to go.
  • Mantras on yellow cards, as I’ll probably be stalled when I need to remember them.
  • Roadblocks go on pink cards, as those are things I need to stop doing. (more…)

Imbalance, Burnout & Change: 2011 Year in Review

head, shoulder, knees and toes, knees and toes - aye_shamus

There are two kinds of end of the year/New Year blog posts to write. The first is a reflection of the previous year – everything you did, everything you didn’t, what you’re proud of, and what you’re not. And the second is a laundry list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for how to make the next year rock much harder than the last.

And then there’s a third, which doesn’t reveal anything about the writer but gives you, the reader, a map of how you can stick to your resolutions for the first time ever.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work Out

New Year’s Resolutions are like plans – you write them for how you’re feeling (usually fat) at that time (post-holidays) for the future (that has yet to be written) – and they never work out. They look great on paper, but horrible in execution because they all lack one thing – foresight and the understanding that you have to sacrifice something to accomplish what you need (and the ability to adjust to continue the momentum).

Instead of resolutions or plans, I make goals. I did this unknowingly as I entered 2010 and consciously as I entered 2011. I met the three goals I set in 2010 but not all of the goals I set for myself in 2011. While all of this past year’s goals looked great in December 2010, by mid-2011, an imbalance between work and life happened and parts of those goals were prioritized while others were not. Plus I set too many goals.

I don’t feel like 2011 was a failure, but just plain weird. In the Christmas letter John and I sent to our family, I summarized the year as one of “change,” and by God, if that isn’t true.

2011 started with a lot of oomph, passion, and excitement as things were set in place that I had been working hard towards achieving in the previous year and a half. But I got burnt out early, outgrew that opportunity faster than I imagined, and a new opportunity revealed itself and I jumped on it. If 2011 was a shape it would look like a giant “U” with a big, deep dip in the middle.

A New Template for Plotting World Domination in 2012

Earlier this week, my husband and I spent the evening working through Benny Hsu of Get Busy Living’s 2011 Year in Review Worksheet. What I like about his template is it focuses on how the previous year ended so you can reflect on what you’re proud of, what you accomplished, what you learned, what didn’t work, and where you’d like to see yourself in the future.

Benny’s worksheet helps you see where you want to go by reviewing where you came. It’s similar to racing a car – they say that you should look at where you want the car to go, not at the wall that you don’t want to run into.

Goals, plans, and strategies are the same way – look at where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go. (more…)

Merry Christmas from Strong Santa

Kimball_XMASCard_2012-webI hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and made it to the nice list 🙂

Much love,
Laura, John, and Strong Santa

Original artwork illustrated by John Kimball

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